BIG KICKS: Punter Brandon Baker, a walk-on who earned a scholarship before the season, came up huge with a 60-yard punt in the first quarter, and after a clipping penalty on USC the play netted 73 yards. USC totaled minus-2 yards on three first-half punt returns.Baker added a 51-yarder on his first attempt of the second half.
BAD START: Williams got his first career start at cornerback, and USC didn't take long to test him on a deep pass. On the opening drive, a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt gave USC a first down on its 44. Troy Williamson, the Southeastern Conference's leading receiver, got behind Williams, and quarterback Syvelle Newton found him for a 56-yard touchdown. Williams, who lined up on kickoff returns last week, found himself replaced there by Gipson, and Jenkins replaced him at cornerback on USC's next possession. The two platooned the rest of the game.
THIS AND THAT: New players lining up on returns had a good night. Andre Hall fielded two kickoffs, returning one 33 yards, and Travis Lipp had a 28-yard return on a punt he fielded on a bounce at his 6. Defensive tackles Allen Cray and Antonio Searcy made their Bulls debuts in the first quarter. Jackie Chambers, a freshman from Miami, got his first career reception, a 29-yarder down the middle that marked USF's longest play of the half. After racking up 185 rushing yards last week, USF's running game never established itself. The Bulls were outrushed 112-32 in the first half, with no carry gaining more than 9 yards.
_ GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer